Star Hotshots' PJ Simon | PBA Media

Simon flashes vintage form, tows Star past Blackwater
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - July 23, 2017 - 11:10am
MANILA, Philippines — PJ Simon summoned his old prolific self and came through with a throwback performance to help lead Star in a 103-86 drubbing of Blackwater on Sunday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Colseum.
 
On his 13th season after he was acquired as a free agent by then Purefoods, the 37-year-old Simon came off the bench to fire a team-high 20 points in just 16 minutes including eight in the fourth quarter when the Hotshots broke the game wide open to claim their first win.

“He is just like that every time he comes in, he is always reliable,” said Star coach Chito Victolero referring to Simon, a Makilala, North Cotabato native who was drafted by Sta. Lucia at 43rd overall but he never got to play.

Simon even outscored their import Cinmeon Bowers, who played almost 30 minutes but managed just 15 points as he took just 11 shots and made only six.
Victolero, however, said Bowers can still improve.

“I’m okay with the game of our import. He’s still adjusting with our system as well as the physicality of the game,” he said.

It also helped Star that Blackwater reinforcement Travis Simpson suffered a bruised left groin injury early in the fourth quarter.

Simpson was having a great game with 24 points, including 12 in the third canto that kept Blackwater in the game, before the injury.

“That is an extra for us because he keeps on attacking the basket and disrupting our defense, it was unfortunate for Blackwater and a break for us,” said Victolero of Simpson.

Victolero said they succeeded in their goal of putting the defensive shackles on the Elite.

“We just tried to limit Blackwater to under 90 points, that’s really our goal and I’m happy we achieved it,” he said.

Blackwater stuck with Star majority of the first three quarters but import Simpson hurt himself and never returned.

It was all the Hotshots needed to break loose and take the fight out of the Elite, who fell to their second straight defeat.

The Hotshots took a 39-28 lead in the second quarter from after starting the game trailing the Elite, 0-6.
 
The scores:

First Game
STAR 103 - Simon 20, Maliksi 15, Bowers 15, Sangalang 14, Reavis 11, Lee 7, Ramos 7, Barroca 6, Dela Rosa 6, Mendoza 2, Melton 0, Javier 0, Brondial 0, Abundo 0.

BLACKWATER 86 - Simpson 24, Erram 11, Digregorio 11, Cruz 10, Banal 8, Cervantes 5, Sumang 4, Buenafe 3, Sena 2, Canaleta 2, Pinto 2, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 2, Pascual 0.
Quarters: 28-22, 49-40, 75-68, 103-86.

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